Springfield, Mass. - April 7, 2018 - Playing its final regular-season contests in Blake Arena, the Springfield College men's volleyball team cruised to a pair of wins over Ramapo and MIT on Saturday afternoon. The Pride knocked off Ramapo, 3-0, before coming back and outlasting MIT in four sets, 3-1.
With the two wins, the Pride, which was the No. 1-ranked team in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III National Rankings, pushed its win streak to 28 matches, marking the longest such streak in program history, Springfield College's 27-straight wins was one game better than the 2013 squad, that set the record with 26-consecutive victories that season. Additionally, the maroon and white went an unblemished 26-0 against Division III opponents during the 2018 regular season.
Next, the Pride will hit the road and take on NJIT on Wednesday, April 11 at 6 p.m.
Springfield College 3, Ramapo 0 (25-15, 25-14, 25-13) -- Game One
Twelve student-athletes picked up at least one kill as the Pride defeated Ramapo in straight sets to kick off Saturday's tri-match in Blake Arena. Leading the Pride was Sergio Figueroa Velez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) with eight kills on 11 attempts, hitting at a .636 clip, while Kenny Lawrence (Longwood, Fla.) came off the bench and added seven kills on 10 swings. Junior setter Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) added 30 assists and four service aces, while Johjan Mussa Robles (Caguas, Puerto Rico) finished with nine digs.
Tied at 4-4 early in the first set, the Pride went on a 4-0 run, capped by an ace from Billy De La Espriella (Northridge, Calif.) to make it 8-4, before Springfield used a 5-0 run later in the set, finished with a kill from Joseth Irizarry Feliciano (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico) to make it 18-12, Pride. From there, an ace from Neary would give the Pride a 10-point, 24-14 lead to force match point, which was sealed on a kill from Figueroa Velez.
After Ramapo made it 7-6 on a kill from Paul Close (Sayville, N.Y.), the Pride sparked an 8-0 run, capped by a kill from Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) to make it 15-6, Springfield College, before a service error from the Roadrunners gave the maroon and white a 20-14 lead on a service error from Conor Charlow (Towson, Md.). From there, the Pride closed the frame on a 5-0 run, as another kill from Jasuta gave the Pride a 2-0 match lead.
Rounding out the match, Springfield College raced out to an early 11-3 run after four consecituve service aces from Chris Parker (East Northport, N.Y.), before taking a 20-7 lead on a kill from Thomas Wollweber (Oceanside, N.Y.). After another kill from Wollweber made it 24-11, Pride, the maroon and white closed out the three-set sweep on a service error from the Roadrunners.
Springfield College 3, MIT 1 (25-12, 23-25, 25-13, 25-16) -- Game Two
It was a dominant offensive performance that led the Pride to a four-set win over MIT in Springfield College's second game of the day, as the Pride finished the match with 58 kills, hitting at a .527 clip behind a 20-kill effort from Figueroa Velez, a new career high for the senior. Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.) and De La Espriella added 13 kills apiece, while Neary handed out a career-high 52 assists in the victory. The Pride had 13 service aces in the victory, including five from Figueroa Velez and three from Tucker Evans (Midlothian, Va.). Figueroa Velez and Eli Irizarry Pares (San Juan, Puerto Rico) added 11 digs apiece.
Playing a back-and-forth first set, Springfield COllege used a 10-1 run, capped by a kill from Zuvich to open up a 14-7 lead, before the made it 17-9 on back-to-back kills from De La Espriella. Up 18-11, the Pride rattled off three kills including a pair from Figueroa Velez to make it 22-11, before closing the set on an ace from the senior. The two sides battled through the second set, with neither team able to take more than a two-point lead until an attack error from the Pride granted the Engineers a 20-17 advantage. Knotted at 22 points apiece, MIT's Evan Pasko (San Diego, Calif.) picked up a pair of late kills to give the Engineers a 25-23 win.
It was all Springfield College in the third set as the Pride opened a 14-8 advantage on a kill from Figueroa Velez, before an ace from Evans made it 22-13, Springfield, late in set three. From there, Evans picked up another ace before Jasuta hammered a ball down to force match point, in which MIT gave up on a bad set to give the Pride a 2-1 match lead.
Springfield College jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the fourth set on a kill from Zuvich, before pushing their lead to eight on another kill from Figueroa Velez, making it 19-11, Pride. From there, the senior notched his 20th kill to make it 23-14, before De La Espriella converted a great play from Neary to finish off the Engineers, ending the set 25-16.